Rodney Strong Vineyards

2007 Alden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon •Alden Vineyards

California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley

Offer Expired:Feb 15, 2011 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


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Mission Codename: Higher Elevations

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Rodney Strong Vineyards and retrieve the latest vintage of their Single Vineyard Alden Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, from the lush Alexander Valley

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Rodney Strong Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2007 Alden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Rick Sayre

Backgrounder: Today’s Cabernet Sauvignon comes to us from one of our favorite Sonoma County wineries, Rodney Strong. Grown in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, today’s wine is a delicious single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Rodney Strong’s highest elevation Cabernet Vineyards, Alden Vineyards. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report, below, for the the complete scoop on today’s wine

Regional Backgrounder: The Alexander Valley AVA in northeast Sonoma County is located on the western side of the Mayacamas range and extends westward to the edge of the Russian River Valley. This appellation was formerly considered a part of Dry Creek Valley but became its own appellation in November 1984. The region is best known for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep burgundy hues, with glints of pure crimson as you swirl the wine. At the edge of the glass, a band of fine ruby encircles the glass. On swirling, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind tall columns of skinny, wine-stained tears.

Smell – A rush of dark mixed berries greets the nose, with overripe blackberry, blueberry and mulberry out front. Additional aromas of dark cherry, clove, cedar and subtle oak follow. After some time in the glass, dark chocolate and a hint of roasted coffee bean emerge, complimenting the other lush aromatics.

Feel – Soft and medium-weight, on the entry. Then the wine feels round at the mid-palate – before it introduces fine-grained tannins that issue a spreading dryness that begins at the edges of the palate and then spreads its way inward.

Taste – Bold, with a bright acidity that drives the dark flavors of the wine right to your palate. Led by blackberry, plum and black cherry, as the wine settles on the tongue, earthy flavors emerge. These include spice, smoky blueberry, sweetwoods and soft oak. After some swirling, dark chocolate and dark espresso mingle with soft spice.

Finish – Leads off with dark fruit that lingers for a long time as bright acidity causes the mouth to water. This, in turn, drives additional flavors to the forefront. Overall the finish is long and dynamic, with flavors that evolve as they tail off, slowly.

Conclusion – 2007 seems to be an excellent your for Cabernet Sauvignon, as evidenced by this wine and some of the other 07’s we’ve been tasting of late. We loved the 2006 vintage of this wine, but the 2007 shows more fruit and deeper aromas. It also shows great balance, with deep black fruit flavors that are supported by a bright acidity. This is a wine built for food pairing and for aging. Decant for best results, and pair with a grilled steak or a spicy pasta dish. Drinking very well now, this 2007 will continue to improve over the next 7 years or more. Be sure to pick up enough, today, to enjoy over the next several years.

Mission Report:

What follows is a retransmission of our initial encounter with Rodney Strong:

The call came in the middle of the night.

“Go for red,” I answered groggily.

“Do you recognize my voice?”

I perked up almost immediately. It was Teech, a great asset and local college professor. Teech is a respected professor of Wine Industry Marketing at the Sonoma State University, and a great friend to the company.

Without saying her name, I replied, “I do. Go.”

“If I can guarantee your anonymity, will you come and guest lecture to my students?”

“I would be honored. Transmit the date and details, and I’ll be there. Depending on my mission on that day, I may have to come in disguise. That’ll help me keep my cover.”

She agreed and we signed off. A few minutes later, my smartphone chimed. Coordinates and full details were revealed to me on the small screen. I confirmed the date.

The weeks passed and I eventually found myself in front of a class of college students. I was there as a ‘wine industry marketing insider’, and I gave a talk on ‘alternative sales channels’. Actually, it was more like an informal dialog, with a short presentation and a longer Q&A session. It was good fun and almost all of the students actually stayed awake.

One student, in particular, had the tougher questions for me. I did my best to answer him, but as the questions became tougher, I realized that he was testing me. Was he trying to punch holes in my cover? I wondered. I kept my cool and decided to subtly press back.

It was obvious, to us both, what was happening here, so I made it a point to encourage other students to ask questions.

The presentation now over, the young man approached me. He reached into his jacket pocket. I tensed, ready to spring. He withdrew his hand – to reveal a business card. the card read, ‘Rodney Strong Vineyard’ and contained his name, [REDACTED], and title, [REDACTED].

I took the card and then accepted his outstretched hand. He said in a whisper, “Agent Red, I’m codename King. I’m your newest asset. I’ll be acting as your mole at Rodney Strong. I’ll reach out when I can secure a fantastic RS wine.”

I don’t know how he knew my true identity – and it didn’t much matter; And so a valuable new asset was developed. And, now you know how I came to procure today’s delicious Cabernet Sauvignon for you!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of Rodney Strong Vineyards (look for the the brick-colored, X-shaped building) can be seen in this satellite photo.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of Rodney Strong Vineyards (look for the the brick-colored, X-shaped building) can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

Perched at over 1200 feet, the Alden Vineyard is a unique environment to grow wine. At this elevation, spring comes later, cooler, and, longer, naturally limiting berry growth size. The resulting smaller berries affect the overall skin to juice ratio in a manner that potentially makes for deep colors, powerful structure, and tremendous concentration of fruit flavors. The challenge, however, is getting the grapes mature before the late season rains. Fortunately, elevation comes through a second time, yet in a different way. When autumn’s longer nights fill the valley with moist, cool air and fog, the higher Alden Vineyard stays above an inversion layer, remaining quite warm throughout the night, allowing for the ongoing enzymatic activity that ultimately matures the crop.

Forward dark berry flavors with accents of chocolate, earth, and bold, spicy oak give this powerful wine a lot to offer for near term enjoyment, but classic mountain fruit structure will provide the patient with plenty of reward over the next 5 to 10 years.

About The Winery:

Rodney Strong is one of Sonoma County’s most dramatic wineries. Visitors are invited to our hospitality center offering a sampling of the award winning wines of Rodney Strong. Enjoy wine tasting with balcony views, taking a tour of the winery’s working centers, attending special events, or just relaxing with a picnic and glass of wine on our lush lawn set among the beautiful vineyards of the Russian River Valley.

“Rodney Strong Vineyards was founded on the recognition of Sonoma County’s potential for excellence. Through decades of grapegrowing and winemaking, we continue to fulfill the promise of the fine land. Our approach is for the grapes from each vineyard and growing region to express their intrinsic character in the special wines we craft. Gentle handling, careful use of barrel and stainless steel fermentation and proper oak aging are guided and monitored to enhance the natural characteristics of our fruit.”

“Today the winery owns and farms many exceptional vineyards in Sonoma County’s prime grapegrowing appellations where our critically acclaimed Estate, Vineyard Designated and Reserve wines are grown.” – Rick Sayre, Winemaker.

About The Winemaker:

Rick Sayre – Vice President, Director of Winemaking – Rick Sayre began his winemaking career in 1970 at the age of 19 as assistant winemaker and cellar master at Simi Winery in Sonoma County. He joined Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1979 and since has been responsible for winemaking for the Winery’s Sonoma County, Estate, and Reserve wines.

As a practitioner of handcrafted wines, Rick is involved in all aspects of winemaking from vineyard management through final blending. In 1991, his hands-on approach paid off as Wine & Spirits Magazine named him “Chardonnay Winemaker of the Year”. Again, in 1999 Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences named him “Winemaker of the Year”.

Rick’s education in winemaking began in the 1970s under the direction of the world-renowned winemaster, Andre Tchelistcheff. It is to Tchelistcheff that he attributes his passion for the art and his desire to master the craft. Always a perfectionist with an eye for detail, Rick continues to apply these traits to making the fine wine of Rodney Strong Vineyards. “It’s so important to be aware of everything,” he says. “Andre taught me that a winemaker must live with his wine, from walking the vineyards, to the careful craft of guiding the wine into bottle. Even the smallest details can have an effect.”

Rick has expanded his winemaking expertise with several trips to France, where he studied the interplay of oak and wine. His voracious appetite for knowledge in winemaking from around the world also inspired journeys to Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

After visiting many of the French cooperage houses, he decided to bring their barrel toasting techniques back to the States and became the first winemaker in California to install an in-house cooperage, specializing in toasting of American oak barrels. In recent years, Rick has worked closely with World Cooperage, a renown American cooperage company, in an effort to perfect the American oak barrel for winemaking.

Since his arrival at Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rick has been instrumental in bringing worldwide notoriety to the Winery’s Estate wines. Alexander’s Crown Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Chalk Hill Vineyard Chardonnay have set standards of Sonoma County winemaking, and have become favorites to consumers all over the United States.

Rick lives in Windsor with his wife, Peggy. Avid gardeners, the two are often spotted at the local farmer’s market selling their fruits and vegetables. Rick enjoys cooking delicious comfort food to accompany his wines. He also finds solace in casting a line now and again for any of a variety of fish. And, while he enjoys a handful of other sporting activities, he admits bruises and broken bones are for days past.

Technical Analysis:


Alcohol: 13.5%

Appellation: Alexander Valley




Residual Sugar:

Cellar & Fermentation:

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